Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!

Oddly, this was the last of the Asterix XXL series to get the remaster treament, the first being XXL 2 in 2018, then we had the brand new XXL 3 in 2019, then the “romastered” version of the first game in 2020, the one we’re talking about today, to celebrate the release of a new Asterix & Obelix movie in theathers.

One of the live-action ones, but still, it’s new Asterix & Obelix material!

Originally developed for PS2, Gamecube and PC (with a GBA version that’s basically another game entirely) by defunct french studio Etranges Libellules and published by Atari Europe, this remaster was instead published by Microids (which pretty much took the place Infogrames had back then) and developed by the quite non-defunct (at the time of writing, anyway) french Osome Studios.

The plot sees the titular duo wander off of their little Gaul village to the ol’ boar hunt only to come back and find out Ceasar (yes, Julius Caius Ceasar from Caligula, exactly) has somehow managed to storm the village, capturing most people and sending them off to various distant ends of the Roman empire in order to have locked out sight and mind, hopefully for good.

But with the help of a fired roman spy, you find out that most of the imprisoned gauls most likely managed to get a piece of the map indicating their location, as Ceasar took the extra step – just in case – of ripping the map in pieces and scattering them in various locations.

Good enough as an excuse in terms of videogame logic to have Asterix & Obelix travel to various places like Egypt, Normandy, Greece and Helvetia, freeing their fellow gaul citizens and getting more pieces of the map along the way.

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Pinocchi-O-Rama: the 2022 “Pinocchio frenzy” and celebrating the 140th Anniversary of Collodi’s classic

No review today, sorry, but we’re doing something a bit special.

If you remember, last year was surprisingly full of Pinocchio adaptations, from the resurfacing of Guillermo Del Toro’s project, that cheap russian retelling/reworking with the infamous Paulie Shorie english dub (called Pinocchio – A True Story, FIY), and Disney continuining with their crusade of shitty live-action remakes of their classic animated films.

And italian audiences were also treated with a live-action Pinocchio movie in 2019, directed by acclaimed italian director Matteo Garrone (Dogman, The Tale Of Tales), and starring beloved italian actor Roberto Benigni, which already was world famous for playing the titular character in the 2002 Pinocchio movie.

If you’re like me, as in italian and pretty much hailing from Tuscany, living nearby Florence, hence more than familiar with the original book by Luigi Collodi, you’d be wondering why now, as it seemed random to see a resurgence of Pinocchio adaptations out of the blue. I mean, the book was already in the public domain in the U.S. since 1940, so i wondered if there was some anniversary relating some of the more famous adaptations…. but nothing that made sense.

As in, the original book was first published (in full, after it was published in a weekly children’s magazine starting 1881, then stopped and eventually resumed with the second part) in 1883, so the following year would mark the 140th anniversary, notable but not the kind of number that publisher choose to publicize some new edition of a popular book.

Doesn’t have quite that ring, but somehow 2022 was the “Year Of Pinocchio” regardless, so irked by this i’m gonna do “sumethin about it” and actually spotlight a noteworthy or overlooked Pinocchio adaptation or “heavily inspired by ” work each month of 2023, with special reviews, starting with a post/review at the very end of January.

There will be no precise release windows for each piece, just each a month for the entirety of 2023.

[EXPRESSO] Babylon (2022) | The Jazz Orgies Of Caligula

Didn’t Square Enix and Platinum Games already did th- nope, this isn’t that kind of “Babylon” (which will die at the end of this February, btw, look forward for a review of that).

This is a spanking brand new – well, kinda, it came out at the very end of last year and we’re getting it here just now – movie from Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash), about the transitional period of cinema during the late ’20s, when the industry moved from silent to sounds films, and the movie depicts the rise and fall of actors, producers and cinematic figures during this time, gleefully showing – with a scope befitting the title – the grandeur and decadence that preceed the “fall” of the old ways cinema had been made, imagined and immortalized.

Excess is the keyword and Babylon revels in it, christen its offspring, before flinging it to the jester dwarf man jousting an inflatable cock as to entertain the coked up orgy attendees, like we’re watching 1920’s cinema-themed scenes from Tinto Brass’ Caligula, though regardless in the first 10 minutes you see golden showers and a bountiful anal evacuation from the costipated party elephant.

You are not gonna hear me complain about the obvious debauched exploitation style direction and contents Damien Chazelle went for, we had more clean or fantastical retellings of period pieces about cinema& its making-of, so we definitely can have a comedy-drama like this that – while also having a cornucopia of big name actors – embraces the medium and its many excesses in a unfiltered fashion, and is able to deliver a lot of laughs, excellent cinematography, incredibly entertaining over-the-top scenes, but also some hearfelt exchanges and touch upon heavy themes.

And never feel tiresome despite the mammoth sized 3 hours runtime.

Loved it!

[EXPRESSO] M3GAN (2022) | Child’s Ploy

Killer robots are back to the big screen (using the plural since there was apparently a christmas killer robot santa movie that also came out last year but it’s still US only, in a legal manner), and intriguingly James Wan it’s back as writer after his friend (and Saw co-creator) Leigh Wannell delivered the excellent cyborg thriller Upgrade some years ago, this time with a new take on the killer doll trope, which while sharing similarities with Chucky (even more considering the surprisingly solid recent remake), manages to stand on its own.

Even though the title character starts out as an anti-Chucky figure of sorts, since it’s a robot created as an advanced life-sized child companion/tutor/friend and pitched by a woman working in a toy company after her sister’s family dies on a crash, with only her young nephew, Cady, surviving the incident, after realizing the nephew treats Megan as a real friend, realizing she can kill two birds with one stone by also forwarding the robot unit instead of the toyline she was supposed to fix.

Problem is “Megan” has been built with an adaptive learning pattern and soon cold logic brings the robot to realize that extreme measures will need to be taken in order to protect Cady…

2022 was indeed the year of Pinocchio more than i realized, but aside from that the movie it’s good, not great, but definitely good, the script is strong, characters are quite likeable, the drama delivers, the title character-killer it’s creepy as fuck, the effects are good, and direction by Gerard Johnstone is quite solid too.

Takes a bit to get going, but when it does you’re in for quite the fun killer robot horror film… and one that kinda ambushed me with how funny – deliberatly comedic – it was.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #23: Land Of The Lost (2009)

FIY, i didn’t know this movie’s history beforehand, i figured we could use a mainstream released feature with actors people might have actually have seen before, you know, in theathers and all, it wasn’t an obscure product from a country that no longer exists and it was “2YK survivor”.

So i just slotted into the list, only to later find out i basically enlisted “comedy Hitler” for this Dino Dicember, as this thing was widely hated back in 2009, with the deadly combo of being both a box office bomb and receiving overwhelming amounts of negative reviews from the press.

And also won 7 Razzies, which – as said before – i don’t really acknowledge, but by all accounts it had everything going against it, as it was regarded as an awful, awful sketch comedy, and made people extra salty because it was technically one of those “parody movie adaptations/remakes” of an older, beloved TV series, in this case Sid and Marty Krofft’s Land Of The Lost from 1974.

Which i never saw since i’m technically a Millennial and whatnot.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #22: Tyranno’s Claw (1994)

Time for something very obscure and very fun, with some history behind it, too, because when i think old monster movies from Korea, my mind goes immediatly to good old Pulgasari/Bulgasari.

And guess what, i’m gonna give myself a pat on the back, and you might too, since in 1994 the director of D-War: Dragon Wars and Yonggary (the 1999 movie, itself a remake of 1967’s Yongary, Monster From The Deep), Shim Hyung-rae, caught wind of the international dinosaur-mania, so he concocted one of the most peculiar and strange kaiju films ever committed to celluloid, Tyranno’s Claw, far from the obvious Jurassic Park mockbuster the year of release might suggest.

Even though there IS a “goat scene” …. this is something else indeed.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember # 19: Jurassic Thunder (2019)

Oh, boy, THIS one.

I was gonna include it in the original Dino December, but i eventually relented.

Not because it looked like crap, like really atomic level of trash, just a smidge above the realm of stuff like Weasels Rip My Flesh, quite the opposite, i’m even more intrigued by the fact it looks and most likely is utter bungum, as i keep gazing into the abyss (Mondo Zappa style) until the abyss itself gets bored or produces some new unholy artifact for my collection. Which it often does, actually.

I eventually didn’t bother as i was so irritated and angry at it, and i did want to review it, not use the movie as a verbal punching ball. So i let some time pass, and combined with the fact i don’t want to pity people in general, i’d say it’s time to review Jurassic Thunder in proper and earnest and whathaveyou.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #18: Cowgirls Vs Pterodactyls (2021)

In the spirit of exploiting terms like “gender equality” and “inclusive”, i had to follow up my review of Cowboys VS Dinosaurs with this one, because everyone (aside from nazis, fascists, and their “variants”) is welcome to make its own bad movie about dinosaurs, with effects that really stretch the modern goodwill towards crap movies to excuse stuff that’s embarassing even by film student standards.

So cowgirls can fight the other – and honestly more represented in cinema – group of specific dinosaurs, because we’ll pretend we can’t afford to create any other dinosaur that isn’t a pterodactyl.

I do like pterodactyls (and Aerodactyls), so whatever, what plot brings these two factions to fight for the fate of the land without having to kidnap emperors?

A stolen husband. Yep. One day a teacher’s husband is pteronapped, so she enlist the helps of a prostitute and a gunslinger (a rpg class not represented in the title, for shame) to save his ass.

One thing i was hoping for is them trying to do this as “period piece”… and they do!

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #17: Dinosaurus! (1960)

Among the many dinosaurs films ailing from the 50 and ownards, Dinosaurus! comes to mind as a classic cheesefest full of b-movies cliches, incredibly outdated values and characters that would fly only in that decade, sometimes for other reasons besides being offensive.

Never mind it being from the ’60s, or the fact that Steve McQueen was intended to play the lead character (after his success as the lead teen in 1958’s The Blob, also produced by Jack Harris, and also directed by Irvin Yeaworth), but opted out to star in The Magnificent Seven, never mind, because this is such a cornucopia of old timey laughable b-movie trash that it was eventually featured on Rifftrax. It was just a match made in cheap dinosaur heaven.

Such a perfect film to lampoon and ridicule that i’m surprised it took them until 2018, and now it’s fully free on their Youtube channel, so you have no excuse now.

But for us, we’re gonna try and review it in his “riff-less” original release, it’s the season of giving after all, so let us partake in some fermented dinosaur cheese of yore.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #14: Triassic Attack (2010)

To give us a breather from an apparently endless strain of incredibly stupid scientists who would resurrect Hitler and put his brain in a T-Rex for the lulz… this time no one is cloning anything, or tampering in god’s domain without a rubber octopus on strings.

None of that shit.

Sorry for the screenshots “salvage fest”, but despite IMDB listing it having an italian release date (which is true since it was aired on tv here… i guess once), i couldn’t even find images of the apparent UK release, let alone a UK DVD, it’s not even one of those dino flicks gated off to non-UK Amazon Prime Video users. And apparently none of the major streaming services has it.

I’m not paying extra to import it from the US or get a Japanese copy, sorry, not for Triassic Attack.

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